Eline De Clercq
Eline De Clercq created a lesbian garden, Gesamthof, in the monastery garden of Kunsthal Extra City and Morpho, Antwerp. As many plants are non-binary, beautiful in their own terms, and do not bear fruit to be exploited, the garden is a safe space for lesbians. De Clercq brings together a community of humans and non-humans to work together with care for their ecology.
Working with nature goes both ways, it will restore ecology in the garden and it will inspire new ways of thinking within an artistic practice. This change of perspective is a shift towards a multitude existing together, a thinking with. When we touch nature, nature touches us, and the trees, stones and compost become meaningful, together we make sense. The spill over effect of lots of plants in small gardens means we can share seedlings and divide and share plants with other communities to increase the diversity in various gardens. Climate change is only going to become more important, and many artists care about how they can help. In order to find a meaningful approach with ecology it is interesting to work from a practice based on understanding: to really engage with soil, plants, birds, insects...
Both the Gesamthof and another project, the Sympoiesis Garden at the Royal Academy of Antwerp that De Clercq is working on, are pioneering in art and ecology. They are among the first and new futures are invented as we go along.
Sympoiesis means 'making together', it comes from the book Staying with the Trouble by Donna Haraway. In the garden we work towards restoring ecology from a non-human-centred perspective based on the books of Donna Haraway, Anna L. Tsing, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Jamaica Kincaid and many more. We focus on diversity in plants, soil, critters, patches, views and techniques. We try to decolonize the garden practice and take up a multicultural and non-binary practice.
Read more about Eline De Clercq's work
Transcription of Anne Reijniers and Eline De Clercq's Gesamthof / A Lesbian Garden, film, 15', 2022, including notes
Assembly of Practice #4: Whose collection?
After 'What does it mean to own?', 'Whose Artwork?', and 'Whose Institution', a final Assembly of Practice brings us to art collections as potential places of shared interest, which increasingly rely on archives, reactivation protocols and complex contractual relationships.